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Union workers at Mercy Hospital vote to authorize strike

Members of the union representing about 2,200 registered nurses and technical, service and clerical workers at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.

Balloting took place Monday and Tuesday and the final total was 96 percent “yes” and 4 percent “no,” according to the Communications Workers of America. Union officials declined to say how many workers took part in the vote.

Employees in the two bargaining units at the South Buffalo hospital are represented by CWA Local 1133. Their contract with Catholic Health System expired last month.

The vote does not mean a strike will automatically take place but it gives the local’s leaders the authority to call a strike. If the union opts to go out on strike, it would have to provide 10 days’ notice to Catholic Health.

System officials, in a statement following the close of voting, said they have presented contract proposals that featured competitive wages and benefits, attractive health insurance and improvements to staffing.